Tilikum is not important. Brancheau is.

One thing that the world is no stranger to is death. People die every day, sometimes with an alarming frequency. Most people can switch on the news, look at the face of someone who just passed and think, “Darn, another one.”

A nation of people finding death to be as boring as toast is strange. For a typical person to know another human beings life is at an end, make light of it, and go about his or her day is truly alarming.

Take Dawn Brancheau for example. A 6-ton whale grabbed her, shook so violently her shoe (which was attached to her wetsuit by the way) came off, then dragged down into the water. Many readers only know her as “The Unlucky Girl Shamu Went Killer Whale On.”

A person is dead and good chunks of people are more worried about the rights of “Tilikum,” the whale. Ignoring the fact that maybe humans should not play with animals for amusement, a human being is dead.

She was doing her job, and an animal flipped out on her. The Brancheau family does not want to hear questions about responsibility or blame. Tilikum is going to be fish sticks in a few days, but for the Brancheau family, their loved one, is not coming back.

This human being that lost her life mattered to them.

The life of Tilikum, the tuna fish sandwich, can wait for a while as they take some time out and remember the loss of a human they loved.

Brancheau loved her job. She was doing it right, and is gone anyway as a result. That is what matters.

Plenty of strange things happen in the United States. “Balloon Boy,” reality television, Paris Hilton, you name it, something strange has happened involving it. But sometimes you have to stop and be human when the situation calls for it.